Saturday, February 24, 2018

Swedish Postcards

I am participating in the Postcards From Sweden Quilt Along. In my mind, I call it the "Swedalong," although folks less weird than me are using "PFS QAL." It's not too late to join in with Sandra and the gang if you want to make this fun, bright quilt. My fabrics were all selected from stash, and are mostly prints and blenders with a handful of solids.

The pattern calls for 36 different Kona solids (for my non-quilting readers, Kona is a fabric brand) with names like "Capri" and "Cypress." I had to go through each color name and compare it to the color photos in the pattern to decipher some of them. Both of the above named colors are pale aquas. Who knew? I made a list of all the colors used in the pattern with their translations:

Kona color          Rough translation
1 Lipstick             Red
2 Flame                Red-orange
3 Bright Pink       Red-pink
4 Pomegranate  Red
5 Blue grass        Aqua
6 Fern                   Green
7 Sprout               Yellow-green
8 Citrus                Yellow
9 Lemon              Yellow
10 Peach              Pale orange
11 Mango            Pale orange
12 Kumquat        Dark orange
13 Chartreuse     Yellow-green
14 Leprechaun   Green-yellow
15 Cypress           Pale aqua
16 Lake                Light blue
17 Delft                Dark blue gray
18 Breakers         Blue-aqua
19 Oasis               Dark aqua
20 Royal              Royal blue
21 Capri               Pale aqua
22 Thistle             Pale pink
23 Cerise             Dark red-purple
24 Purple             Dark purple
25 Mulberry        Medium purple
26 Crocus            Medium purple
27 Poppy             Dark red-orange
28 Violet              Medium purple
29 Azalea             Pink
30 Carnation       Pale pink
31 Bubble gum   Pink
32 Candy Pink     Pink
33 Water             Medium blue
34 Carrot             Orange
35 School bus     Orange
36 Pear                Pale green

I found roughly equivalent fabrics and put them in rainbow order. I do love a good rainbow! However, the pattern refers to each color by number, and the numbers are not necessarily in color order. The dark reddish purple at the end in the photo is number 23 "Cerise," but that became completely irrelevant as the pattern progressed. I made little numbered tags that I attached to each color with Clover clips.

After selecting fabrics, the next step was to cut a certain number of squares from each color. The number of squares ranged from 1 or 2 up to 9. Each square was then cut in half into triangles. I then sorted my triangles in numerical order onto paper plates, being careful to always keep them clipped to their number.

Good thing, too, since I'm kinda clumsy. Oops! Fortunately, my clipped numbers system survived this fall intact and no fabric was harmed nor tempers lost.

Choosing fabrics and cutting the triangles are as far along as the QAL has gone this month, but I was having so much fun that I kept going. I'm really not a quilt along-er so much as a quilt all at once-r. But don't feel bad if you're just cutting your triangles, because that makes you someone who follows directions better than I do.

The pattern next calls for pairs of triangles to be sewn back into squares. I've heard it said that quilting is just cutting up perfectly good fabric so you can sew it right back together again. So true. The pattern lays out the blocks in 15 rows of 12 squares. I chose to sew only one row at a time, and marked each block with numbers 1-12 using blue painters tape. I was able to reuse the tape all the way to row "O" although the tape stickum was pretty wimpy by about row "L."

I can't tell you how many times I almost sewed block 4 to block 7 instead of block 5, or turned a block 90 degrees, so the blue tape kept me on the straight and narrow. After the row was sewn together, I only needed the correct letter, A-O, on the far left block, plus an arrow to show which way I pressed the blocks.

If you're getting ready to sew your PFS QAL blocks, I highly recommend using some sort of consistent numbering or lettering system. And keep in mind that each triangle rotates a quarter turn from all the ones around it. In other words, a block with the diagonal seam going from upper right to lower left ALWAYS joins a block that has the seam going from upper left to lower right. I also noticed that the two-triangle blocks were usually colors fairly close together on the color wheel. If you find yourself sewing together a blue and an orange, double check your numbers! 

I managed to finish piecing all the way to row "N" before I realized I was short a #23 Cerise triangle because it got sewn into the wrong spot earlier. Spoiler alert: I chose to go the Amish route (you know, the myth that the Amish always put a mistake in their quilts because no human is perfect) and left the mistake in as a mark of humility. Or laziness. Or OMG THERE ARE SO MANY TRIANGLES NO ONE WILL NOTICE ONE MISTAKE!!


  1. I am excited you are making this quilt! I can't wait to see how it comes out.

  2. I admire your tenacity.

  3. You are so much further on than me Louise (I haven't finished cutting out yet) and you have some great tips here. I was putting my triangles into polythene bags which are slippery and take up a lot of room and I never thought to attach the label with clips, I used post its because that's what I had (that's why I used the bags)only they don't stick well. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your progress and how it turns out.

  4. Looking forward to a non-solid version!

  5. Hey Louise, great to see your progress, though realised I am behind before I start, so hope I make it! I'd appreciate your list of colour translations please. Looking forward to seeing how it develops.

  6. Oh my goodness, thanks for all the tips! I haven't even unfolded my fabric yet. We'll see if I can get that done this week before I head out on another trip! Looking forward to seeing your finish!

  7. Ha, full disclosure, I, too haven't finished cutting my HSTs yet! Hoping to before the link up...There are a ton of good tips here; I'm going to point QAL-ers in your direction if you don't mind. Also you reminded me of the colour chart you've made (I've had uh rather a lot of things on my brain of late, and that slipped my mind).

  8. Lots of tips for those who are doing the Swedalong, love your name for it. Good luck to you, looking forward to all the fun finishes.

  9. Oh Louise, you are always so entertaining! I am watching in envy as you guys do this QAL. I've always loved this quilt but I just can't fit it in right now. I will enjoy seeing yours come to life!

  10. It will be a colorful fun quilt regardless of how many 'colors' end up in the wrong place. I have always found labeling very helpful when it's so easy to get blocks turned around and sewn in wrong order or placement. I'd challenge anyone to find a mistake after the fact though including you. Have fun.

  11. I agree. There are so many triangles how will anyone notice! I'm glad you are booting along. It gives me hope.

  12. This certainly doesn't look like a QAL for the faint hearted or the questionably organised but you're certainly acing all that numbering. I'm sure a triangle amiss here or there won't matter at all and I can see already that this is going to be a stunning quilt :)

  13. Your Swedalong looks complicated but looking lovely. Sorry I've missed a lot of your post this year as my computer has been in the shop (Geek Squad) since Dec. 29. It's a long story so won't bore everyone here with details. I'm using DH's computer when I can. Can't wait for mine to come back.
    Love all the colorful quilts you've been making this year. Hope you are having fun on your journey!

  14. Thats going to look great and you seem to be very organised for it....

  15. It is such a great pattern. You look so organized for the construction. Have fun.

  16. Chart?!?! You have a chart with the colors numbered??? Would you be willing to share? Pretty please with a cherry on top :)))

    1. Hi, Sue! I'm happy to share my chart, but you are a no-reply commenter. Can you please leave an email address so I can reach you? If you want, you can email me directly. I'm louise (dot) hornor (at) gmail (dot) com

    2. Thanks Louise!!! Sent you an email.

    3. Hi, Sue: I haven't seen an email from you yet. My last name is often spelled wrong, so please double check that and try again?

    4. Uh oh...I did spell it wrong. And here I though you were just sailing on gorgeous water with no internet connection and would see it when you returned to civilization :)

    5. Thank you for your fantastic post. Really appreciate your sharing. Wonderful information.

  17. What a fabulous system you have for making this quilt! Have fen!

  18. It's not a mistake, it's a design element! Great job on sewing along! Love your method. And love that you can do it from stash.

  19. I agree with Nancy, 'it's a design element!'
    And I think it's a science/engineering project for sure.
    You could write a treatise on it, seriously.

  20. I love your spiral squares, wouldn't mind trying that pattern some time. Postcards from Sweden - I had seen this put out and had there been a slightly longer time frame I should have been tempted, I love the bright solid colours.

  21. I have been thinking about this one but want to use my stash. Did I read correctly that you have a chart?

  22. Wow, I didn't realize this quilt was that complicated! Seems like you've got it under control. Looking forward to seeing your finished quilt.

  23. Quilt all at once-r. Love it. Who needs to follow directions, right? That's going to be awfully cool, but I would probably be doing more ripping than sewing. Looks like you'll be just fine, though!

  24. wish I had read this before I sat trying to fill in my colour gaps! And I hadn't actually noticed that every block turns the angle. Thank you for pointing that out. Like yourself, I have labelled and stuck and pinned, both with this one and the Belfast Bulletin. That is the key, and I still make mistakes.

  25. Hi Louise,
    Your triangles look so pretty! No one, including YOU will ever know that one triangle is out of place. If they do, they have too much time on their hands. ~smile~ Roseanne

  26. Thanks for sharing all of your tips, I'm sure they will come in handy!

  27. Not sure how i missed you were doing this. Sounds fun! Im going to try and get fabrics together. Pls send your tips! Tack!

  28. I bought the kit and will get to it eventually but right now I am just virtually quiltingalong. I would love a PDF of your chart. I have no idea if I am a no reply blogger so here is my email: LJBISME at MSN dot com. Thanking you in advance...Linda

  29. Very interested in receiving a copy of the postcard from Sweden color chart PDF. and your boat journey looks so interesting. I am a "prairie Person", cannot imagine being on a boat smaller than a ferry or cruise ship. Thanks for your help. My e mail is ldrogers12 at gmail dot com

  30. I would love your handy dandy chart for color and placement of the HST. I am going to crochet a version of this quilt. I adore afghans that look like quilts.

    Please send it to

    thank you for sharing your passion with all of us!

  31. Hi There! I love this quilt but couldn't find the pattern. Please be so kind to send it to the following email address
    Thank you!

  32. I have just received this kit. Can I check,do I cut 5" squares, or 6" squares
    Many thanks

  33. Hi! I’ve been trying to find this pattern but no luck so far with Craftsy gone. Would you be able to send me the PDF you mentioned? Or suggest another source? Thanks!!

  34. I would absolutly LOVE A pdf of the pattern and your brilliant colour chart please. My email is thank you SOOOO much!
    Glyn Goodwin

  35. My very favorite quilt EVER is Postcards from Sweden. I first saw it about six years ago and pinned it in hopes I would someday learn to quilt. Five years ago, I began teaching myself to quilt with online tutorials & YouTube videos. Now, I think I am ready to attempt it.

    I would very much appreciate a pdf of the pattern and a copy of your color chart. That was an ingenious idea for keeping all the fabrics sorted by color & number. Keep on quilting & posting. You are an inspiration to the rest of us!! Many thanks.

    Janet Hicks

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  37. Hi I would love a copy of your colour chart for Postcard from Sweden. ill admit I am very nervous attempting this quilt. my email is Thanks a million


  38. yes please for the colour chart, this will be such a help . One piece out of place, I guess no-one else but you would really know which one, those bright colours sing.

  39. Appreciate all the helpful tips. I'd like a pdf of the color chart. My email is Jules654 (at) gmail (dot) com Thanks tons!

  40. What a beautiful quilt and boat. I too as well would love a copy of the 'Postcard from Sweden' PDF. Thank you Janet Email


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